“Lastly, there is Mr Crocodile. Oh, this one plays a long game, my friend. Patience of an Indian. You will think he’s harmless. He just lies there, lethargic, showing no sign of energy. But when he moves, you don’t stand a chance to escape. He measures twice and cuts once. And when he cuts, it’s deep.”
Bikozulu: The Lacoste of Samburu
You grow up with an image of the partner you dream to be with. You want him to be the one to go on his knee with his arms raised up, a small velvet box between his fingers, open in exhibition of a diamond ring sparkling before your now wide open mouth. Your friends, who had pretended not to know that he would propose will now be cheering and jeering in what you will not decipher some part of it as envious as they take videos of you.
Videos of how lucky you are like hail Mary. Blessed among all women to have been found by a man, a prince charming in fact. The prince charming they have all been waiting for to come before them on a white horse but the best they got was guys in rugged jeans and studs that say, “Nipileke na rieng!”
You will jump up and down to try shake off the dream if at all it is just a dream. You will not understand how tears will roll from the wells of your eyes as if they had been waiting for this day to make your face look like a waterfall. You will debate briefly on whether your ready but the man has already stepped down from the white horse and is now on his knees, for your sake.
The debate will be shortlived by the rapid heart beats in your chest that act like a generator, pumping love all over your body and soul. You will articulate, “Yes! Yes! I do!” as you stretch forth your right hand before him. Everyone will giggle at your evident confusion and remind you that it should be your left hand. You laugh at yourself as he gently and proudly guides the engagement ring through your middle finger.
He will stand up, wipe your tears with his thumbs and says, “I love you.” And you will struggle to reply because your throat is now clogged with that which clogs throats when someone cries. Your mind will be spinning so fast that you can barely concentrate on what is happening. And just like that, he will kiss you. Although your mind is spinning, it will have to stop to help you respond to that moment relevantly and you will close your eyes and let it flow.
As your eyes are closed, your mind gives you a cinematic preview of your honeymoon. How he will close the door of your reserved presidential suite in a five star hotel in Santorini and lasciviously walk towards you as you lie in wait on the king size bed like a prey ready to be devoured by its predator. By the time he gets to the bed, his shirt will be getting acquainted with the floor. He will touch your bare feet with his chin and that will be your first electrocution in the opening evening of your honeymoon. He will proceed with his hands…
He stops the kiss and you both open your eyes to the flashing lights from your friends phones. That night will see you deserted of sleep. The memories of the day will keep you awake. The love cycling through your body like a lunatic child will distract you from thinking about anything else but him. You imaginations will take you on a road trip to the land where kids are named.
Two or three wedding committee meetings later sees your in-laws, folks, family and friends take a drive to your mother land for a ruracio. As your custom is, the in-laws have to cook overnight. All you do is sit and watch your husband-to-be in a kitchen apron that’s too small for him – shed tears as he cuts what may be the sixtieth onion bulb.
You feel pitty for him. You want to help him. You think it is unfair because at the end of the day or rather from the beginning of the marriage till the end, you are the one who will be the wife. To cook and to clean, for him! What’s the point of making your man do all that? But you’re wise enough to just hold you peace. You know better than to break tradition and eventually attract a curse from your old folks.
Your hubby will live to remind you of that night they cooked. He will make a joke saying that was a punishment, not tradition. But he would profess that he could do it again and again if it was what it would take him to keep you in his life.
A handsome bride price, last round of pre-marital counselling, cake tasting, wedding gown and suit shopping, bachelor’s party and girls’ night out later, you will walk down the aisle while seeing through a veil. One hand locked to your dad and the other locked to your mum. Your gown is sweeping the floor behind you, gracing every spot it sweeps with love. A flower girl before you, throwing pink and white petals along the aisle. The flower girl is your niece that you baby sitted umpteen times after she was born. You promised her a special role in your wedding although you never told even her mother.
Your smile radiates through the veil to the onlookers now taking pictures and videos of you. Some are waving at you and you can hear others admiring you. At the end of the aisle is the man you want to go through ‘for better and for worse’ with. The man you want to cherish in sickness and in health. The man you will vow to have nothing come in between you but the inevitable grim ripper called death.
“I hereby pronounce you man and wife, you may now kiss the bride,” was your sweetest part after the vows that nearly made your tear ducts throw fits.
“Ngai wakwa ni museo…” will be sang as family and friends dance toward and around you to congratulate the both of you. All this time none of you will let go of each other’s hand. On your way out for a photoshoot it will cross your mind that nobody stood up in opposition to your marriage. Not that you expected anything like that, but it causes you to be more thankful to God that He did not let that level of drama invade the mother of best days in your life.
Both of you will whisper naughty things to each other while in the back seat of a Land Cruiser V8. It makes both of you ruttish and it is made even more prurient when you express how glad you are to be virgins. You hold your horses because you’re riding in one of his elderly uncle’s car, lent to you for the wedding.
And the living happily ever after begins from there except for one thing. That is all just in your head mjango!
The reality of life is here with us. And the reality is that not everyone has a happy ever after. To spoil it further, you see that which you think is a happy ever after? Life gives you its own definition of happy ever after and your job mjango, is to accept it and learn to love and live with it that way. And so happy endings always have shitty starts. Now that? That is reality!
The reality is that Njambi is the kind of girl who had her walls built too high. She inhales and exhales perfectionism.
She has two elder sisters and she had been a front bench spectator of their love lives.
She was there when her eldest sister sneaked in her boyfriend when their parents left the digs in their hands for the weekend. They had a farming project in shag. So that particular weekend had both of them going unlike other times when it was either of the two. Her eldest sister was 20 at the time and she was 10.
She was smart and her sisters had trained her to mature up. So hers was always to be the invisible member of the gang that basically involved keeping her mouth shut.
After class six is when it began to make sense to her why her sister had brought her boyfriend at home. Some two months later, they broke up. As you’d guess, the guy dumped her sister. That was the third relationship her eldest sister had been to but that was the one that broke her the most.
A not so different testimony lives from her other sister who was 16 at the time. In fact, this one has been to more relationships than her own fingers could count. And so that was how the lore that ‘men are trash’ was passed down to Njambi.
“I got into a relationship for the first time when I was 22.” She said and paused in a manner to express that that should sink in really deep.
It did. Because in this day and age, when you crush on two guys, you’re not so far from being someone’s girlfriend. Because when one of them gets to know you’re crushing on him, that becomes their green light to pursue you even if you were never in their plans. Ask that mjango you have friendzoned and he will tell you that’s the way to go for the common boychild. They’d say, “Fuata sifa, utampenda baadae!”
By then she was sure she had found the right man. To her, it was all about patience and a bit of Math. She believed she had her Math right. She had studied men through her sisters’ experiences and advice and got to create a sculpture of the kind of man she knew she wanted.
“I was sure I knew the kind of guy I wanted. Although it started off by me saying that I didn’t want any guy in my life. But what my ‘Math’ didn’t show me, because I really love Math and I’m good at it – was that the guy you want will not always be the guy you deserve. The probability of having both cases coincide is less than 0.20.”
I couldn’t believe she actually gave a decimal in her statement.
There is this one guy she has known since she was 16. He had just moved in to the neighborhood and for some reason, he managed to get past the fence of fire she had built around her. That makes her even not to make friends that easily. So they quickly caught the flu of friendship.
“We connected so fast because he was smart and I am smart too. I had never met someone who we could have intellectual conversations with and just talk about the realities of life. I never imagined I’d meet someone who viewed life in the same tangent that I did. When it came to academics, we were constantly locking horns to challenge each other.
He was my study partner for sometime. He later became my confidant. He knew me so well and I knew him too. Our parents knew each other and all. For the years we’ve been close friends, I don’t know why it had never crossed my mind to ask why he had never made a move on me. Though I already had it within me that him and I couldn’t go beyond friends. If it’s about looks, well, he is good looking but not my type.
He had this level of wisdom and maturity that I used to tell him was too much for his age. Speaking of age, I am like five months older than him. Sometimes I used to bully him, not in bad way though. Whenever I wanted a favour from someone, I knew he couldn’t refuse. Yet again, he never used to complain because sometimes he needed favours from me and I’d outrightly refuse to do them. Neither would he have a thing against me.
There is this one time my friends hosted a party for my birthday. I learnt to drink from my sisters, so I like to drink sometimes. I had never really celebrated my 18th birthday in the way that made me feel like an adult because of my parents. They were still quite strict on me. Especially my dad because I’m daddy’s girl.
So when I turned 20, it was like a revenge or double party. He is not the party kind of guy but imagine for my sake he showed up.
In fact another thing that made my gut say no to anything concerning me and him is that he is a church guy. By this time he had learned to loosen up abit, you know even turn up for a party kidogo. But he still was, not holier than thou but He loved his God. He wanted everyone around him to simply respect that. Which is fine but to be honest, it bored me sometimes.
My rule was live like a free bird, today is today, tomorrow shall sort itself out. But not for him. His rule was what you sow today is what you will reap tomorrow. So I counted that as a huge gap between us that can never be bridged in this lifetime. I didn’t want it bridged anyway.
Anyway that day I really got wasted. I have never got wasted like that again. And so you can guess what happened as a result…”
To be continued Mjango.